Originally Posted by average_joe
I too am perplexed by some of the people (I only know of one) that say the 5-way is dark, small, etc. How can it be? I can't say, but it sounds like expectations, or more than likely a bad fit. There are some people that have sold their 5-ways and since they can't be reshelled as far as I know, maybe people are getting a bad fit. If they are being reshelled, you never know what you may get. Most people don't have multiple data points with the same CIEM, but I have compared 2 5-ways. They have different fits as one has a longer canal than the other, and while they both sound good and share characteristics, there are differences. In my experience, I have received CIEMs that didn't fit properly and sounded poor and after a refit, they sound much different.
It is quite difficult to pinpoint why some people like a CIEM while others strongly dislike it. Preference, expectations, fit (and possibly even build issues), sources, and poorly mastered tracks can all play a role in it. All any of us can do is state our experiences and hopefully people will be forthcoming about their listening parameters and other factors that can affect the sound and perception.
Well, I have a kinda "reference" approach. I'd like my CIEM/headphone to match "my flat" signature reasonably close.
SE-5 doesn't even attempt to do that, presenting bass-boosted, shelved-highs sound. Mids are accurate. It's a weird combo too, like note thickness of the various armatures does not match, with bass being far thicker than the mids, which still are thicker than the highs.
Bass has the dynamic driver IEM's note thickness and power (whether equalized or not) and is very low distortion. Only a notch below the hard hitting RE-ZERO (both equalized) or new Atrios.
Soundstaging is a bit off (slightly more when not equalized), but not a lot, probably due to phase issues inherent in the multi-crossover design - instruments playing at different ranges sound "separate" even if they should be blended together - I'd call it analytic if it wasn't fake.
It's more shelved than RE-272 for example (there are 2 shelves instead of one) - but linear to my ears in the midrange (500Hz - 3kHz), whereas RE-272 has humps and dips. However, it is less linear elsewhere and in total than TWFK-based Brainwavz B2. (which has a 1k dip plus wide hump centered on 6k)
Extension is top notch, unlike TWFK, but like RE-272.
This issue might be due to the fit being too shallow, but if so I'd expect Grzegorz to tell me the impressions are not deep enough - also they fit great. I'm pretty sure I've posted a picture of my pair somewhere around. If not, PM please and I'll do that.
The real tricky part with the CIEMs is that setting up an appointment with an audiologist is time consuming and has to be done in weekdays - some people work full time, you know.